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Hello Campers! I trust the Summer air is melding pants to thighs and all of your August wishes are manifesting with the greatest of ease. I am dropping in to give an update on my upcoming installation in Hollywood. The new series of paintings is entitled, 'Ectoplasm.' It seems my fascination with the all things gooey and surreal has birthed into a dozen or so new paintings revolving around that touchy and occult fringed topic. I can't say exactly why I spent the last six months obsessively spilling acrylic spirit matter onto canvas, (these things seem to reveal themselves in hindsight) but I am quite pleased with the outcome! I hope that those of you who decide to come out and witness these illustrative absurdities will be pleased as well. And the gallery itself is really fun and inspiring! The space is called Mr. Music Head. It's at 7517 W. Sunset Blvd in glorious Hollywood, CA. It shares the block with another mecca of rock and roll imagery, Morrison Hotel. Stop in to both rooms and leave with a heightened sense of well being and inspiration...
A brief explanation... At the height of World War One, Westerners were awash with grief at the loss of so many of their young to the battles raging overseas. This outbreak of sorrow and hopelessness just happened to coincide with the onset of modern photography. Photography, then, did not carry with it the 'instantly gratifying', 'point and shoot' methodology that we so passively take for granted in this day in age. It was still somewhat magical and esoteric to the layman and was something that was very much left to the 'Professionals.'
Responding to a literal generation of families clinging to the hope of communicating with their children once more, the Spiritualist Movement emerged. Somewhat serendipitously alongside the advent of modern photography. A world of possibilities opened up for both the Mediums and Spiritualists as well as those with mild understanding and knowhow as to camera operation. The Mediums promised communication with the grieving family's passed children, and the photographers promised images that proved contact with their ethereal offspring. A controversial relationship was thus born! What followed was a fascinating display of human imagination, a host of new philosophical questions, and an onslaught of ethical debates that have rolled and raged ever since!
Photographers, using simple and now commonly understood techniques of shooting in low light, were able to capture smoky apparitions hovering above Mediums and family members. In certain instances, they were even able to catch gooey, muslin like substances drooping from the mouths, ears and even genitals of the Mediums. 'Ectoplasm!' All in all, it was big step up from the Ouija Board, and in my opinion, black and white photos never looked so cool. I was really taken by the countless photographs that the MET in NYC cataloged on this topic, and though it took over two years for that inspiration to manifest visually for me, I am now arriving at the end result of this spectral carpet ride.
'Ectoplasm,' in it's original definition, is no less fascinating: "The outer portion of the continuous phase of cytoplasm of a cell, sometimes distinguishable as a somewhat rigid, gelled layer beneath the cell membrane." But in it's then new context, it gained a sexy, paranormal explanation: "The visible substance believed to emanate from the body of a Spiritualistic medium during communication with the dead. And or, an immaterial or ethereal substance, especially the transparent corporeal presence of a spirit or ghost."
In a nutshell, Ectoplasm is spirit matter. Those of you more adept at understanding pop cultural references, might remember the green, slimy stuff that was left upon a young and fool-hardy Bill Murray (aka, Peter Venkman) in the timeless, Occult classic, 'Ghostbusters.' If you haven't seen it recently, check it out. Gozer's devil dogs that Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver morph into at the climax of the film look just like my dog, Bruce. Good times.
The correlation between art and spirit matter is of vast importance to me. As I have elaborated upon previously, the experience of art is not unlike repelling into the darkest of caverns or "sultry abyss' " as it were. So the idea of creating Ectoplasmic sight-scapes seemed highly appropriate. Artists are today's Mediums after all. I do not claim to believe in the presence of a spirit world; nor do I dismiss it's possibility. My philosophic sponginess merely allows for many different possibilities to bounce about in my mind. It might be silly sometimes, but it sure is a lot of fun.
So there you go! I hope you all have a chance to check out the installation, and thank you from the bottom of my heart's bottom for your eyes and your ears! Love and light!